Thyroid & parathyroid


Acute / infectious thyroiditis

Last author update: 1 March 2009
Last staff update: 27 January 2021

Copyright: 2003-2023,, Inc.

PubMed Search: infectious thyroiditis

Shahid Islam, M.D., Ph.D.
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Cite this page: Shahid I. Acute / infectious thyroiditis. website. Accessed March 28th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Also called acute thyroiditis
  • Via blood or direct seeding from upper respiratory infections, causes sudden onset of pain and glandular enlargement
  • Risk factors: malnourished infant, debilitated elderly, immunosuppression, trauma
  • Often Streptococcus haemolyticus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus; gram negative bacteria associated with trauma; also Pneumocystis jiroveci in HIV+ patients with low CD4 counts (Mycoses 2007;50:443)
Clinical features
  • Usually based on serologic tests
Case reports
  • Drainage, antibiotics, fistulectomy
Gross description
  • Normal or slightly enlarged thyroid gland
  • May have suppurative areas
Gross images

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Aspergillus septic foci

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Neutrophils, possibly microabscesses and tissue necrosis
  • Fungi are associated with necrosis, acute inflammation and granulomas
Cytology images

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  • Gram stain or GMS / PAS may help identify bacteria or fungi; use ISH or IHC for viruses
Differential diagnosis
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